Posts Categorized: Personal

Why Positivity?

We here at Inspire(d) like to stick with positive news – it’s what we’re all about, and we think it’s an important thing to do, especially in these days of constant – often negative – news at our fingertips. That stream of all-day-every-day events can bog a person down, and make a good day turn bad.

I want to talk a little about that, and my goals with Inspire(d) Magazine. It comes down to weeds (I want to crush them!) and flowers (I have a crush on them!).

So, yeah: I’ve been spending a lot time out in my gardens lately. Okay, rephrase – I’ve been spending minutes here and minutes there out in my gardens lately (because that’s all I get, generally), and I know one thing for sure: the weeds are here. I do – literally – nothing to cultivate them. In fact, I actively attempt to get rid of them. Some days I’m more successful than others.

My flowers, on the other hand, take cultivation. They take care – water, sun, space – I even talk to them, because, damn, I love those things. They bring me a lot of joy. Even at this time of year, when it’s the end of the season and you think, “I should just give up!” it pays to keep at it.  There’re perennials out there that will bring color and joy for years to come, if you spend some time taking care of them.

Negativity is like those little jerk weeds. It is here, and it will spread with no effort. My goal in this life is to help it not spread. I put my efforts in cultivating the positives in this world so that we can have a happier life.

If I can improve one person’s day, it’s worth it. Frankly, if I can improve my own day, it’s worth it. This is life; it’s all we’ve got.

While we choose to not write about negative things in Inspire(d) in an effort to NOT spread negativity, we also attempt to pull the weeds – we can do this by writing about inspiring people, being active in our community, supporting candidates who support our goals, voting, standing up for issues that matter to us, and speaking up when we see or hear something that isn’t just or kind.

We aren’t sticking our heads in the soil, thinking everything is all good, all the time. Things are tumultuous in the world right now. I have never felt the desire to pack it in and just go more often in my entire life. But I keep coming back to this desire – this need – to cultivate these flowers.

I’m talking about you guys. I’m talking about this community. I’m talking about this world. It brings me so damn much joy. It is filled with light, love, and wonderful people.

I was helping deliver the Summer Inspire(d) Magazine a few weeks ago, and while I drove, I was thinking about some personal problems. I came up with three F words (no, not my favorite F word, don’t worry) that have become a bit of a mantra for me over the past month:

Don’t fixate on the problem. Find solutions. Focus on the positive.

So that’s what I’m doing out here – minutes here, hours there, focusing on the positive, and always looking forward with hope, excited to see what blooms next.

XOXO – Aryn

2017 Inspire(d) Readership Survey

Inspire(d) Readership 10-Year (!) Survey

10 years! It doesn’t seem possible, but here we are, a decade into bringing positive news to the Driftless Region. And do you know what?! We feel like there are more stories to write about than ever. It solidifies what we knew when we started: People are good.

Speaking of good people, we need to thank you fine folks reading this page – if it weren’t for you all – and our incredibly supportive advertisers – we couldn’t make this fine and fun publication. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Times 10… million!

In order to keep bringing Inspire(d) to the world, we’d love to know some more about you! We’re always fine-tuning our content to what our readership wants, and always helping our advertisers understand our market so they can best represent their businesses within our pages.

So: Please tell us about yourselves through this survey! And please let us know what you’d like to see done differently in Inspire(d), or what ideas you have to make this magazine even better. Just fill out this page and mail it back to Inspire(d) HQ (412 Oak St., Decorah, Iowa 52101), or fill it out online (at Everyone who answers the survey will be entered in a drawing to win a few fun (but small) prizes! (Uff-Unicorn pens? Local treats? You’ll have to fill it the survey to find out!)

Support local businesses, and they will support you! Thank you!

Aryn, Benji, & Roxie

What Women Inspire You?

As Benji and I work together each day to live our lives well and make the world a better place, I – quite honestly – don’t have to look farther than inside our own home.

Here, nestled within these 100+-year-old walls, lives the future. Here lives our tiny four-year-old daughter. I strive daily to illustrate and help her realize that girls can do motha-effin’ anything. Women! We are an amazing gender, and while I mean no disregard for the (sometimes) hairier sex, we women have to stick together. For many years we’ve had to prove ourselves to the world. That we’re capable, that we’re strong, that we’re smart, and worth just as much as any other human being.

I feel that. Definitely as a business owner and boss. As a spouse. As a mother. But it’s the latter that really puts the fire in me to put forth this upcoming Spring issue of Inspire(d) Magazine. We’re doing an inspiring women issue, ya’ll! And it’s going to be great.

And I need your help.

I’d love for you to tell me about your inspiring mother, grandmother, best friend, neighbor, mentor…you get it. Send me 300 words or less about what is so inspiring about this woman in your life.


  1. Please write it from the first person (i.e. “My mother is so incredibly amazing. She’s always found a way to put a positive spin on life and that has, in turn, helped me create a positive world for my family and community….” < that’s about my mom, fyi).
  2. It can be quite a bit shorter than 300 words if you don’t need much space, but no longer.
  3. Include one photo of the inspiring woman in your life, or one of you and her or another photo that best illustrates her inspiring qualities. Just keep in mind: I only have room for one photo.
  4. Include their full name and location and your full name and location. I would prefer that either the woman featured or the person writing the story lives in or has once lived in the Driftless Region.
  5. Deadline is January 30. No later! Email your stories to

We’ll print as many inspiring female stories in the spring issue as we can! Hopefully all of them. These personal stories will share the pages with a few longer pieces on some other inspiring women in the Driftless Region. I am so pumped!

Truly I’ve never been more excited about putting a magazine together (and I’ve made 48 of them!). It’s for Roxie, for myself, for all my best female friends, neighbors, and even strangers – ’cause women are freaking awesome! XOXO

Looking forward,